Ilana Fernandez, Psy. D. is mother of NINE children: seven step-children and two biological! She has experience raising children, “the best training of all.” Plus she earned a Doctorate of Psychology, practices psychotherapy, gives parenting classes and workshops, and trains other professions. Dr. Fernandez has written the best parenting book I have ever read. IF KIDS CAME WITH INSTRUCTIONS STEP #1 WOULD BE CHERISH YOUR CHILD EACH DAY IN SOME WAY has many practical and inspiring guidelines.
One of my favorite ideas is “Peace Talks.”
Ilana notes, “One of the more effective techniques I learned about helping children learn how to solve their own problems in a non-violent way was from a tape that my mom sent me from Canada by a parent educator named Barbara Calarosa. . . . I’ve come to call it peace talks. It is worth explaining to children that it is very much like what our world leaders do when they come together to solve their conflicts with one another.
- Siblings or fighting peers sit in chairs facing one another just out of kicking or reaching range. [Ilana’s experience with children shines through here].
- The main rule is neither person can get up from the chair until the other person says they can. This forces them to reach a consensus that they have at least made peace for the time being, if not an agreement.
- Usually one person is especially mad and they swear they aren’t going to let the other person up. Comments like “you can sit there until your face falls off for all I care” are common. The hitch is they can’t get up either until they let the person up. This leads, invariably, to a discussion of what the real problem is beneath the anger.
- They learn to communicate and problem solve and they are forced to listen and be heard by the other person. . . .
Hash it out until each is ready to let the other person up. You can at least model respectful language and talking from the heart” (129-131).
You can find out more about Dr. Ilana Fernandez at https://www.mauimetamorphosis.com/
Aloha – in peace & light, Renée